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One of the most common pests found inside homes and business in the Lansing area are ants. Ants have three body parts that make them distinct: head, thorax, and abdomen. One characteristic all ants share in common is that they have ap air of elbowed (bent) antennae on their head and the area between the thorax and abdomen is restricted and called the petiole. Ants may sometimes be mistaken for winged termites that are called swarmers.
The largest ants in the Lansing area are typically carpenter ants. They may appear in color as black or a combination of red and black. Worker ants be sized anywhere between 3/16 to 1/2 of an inch. Carpenter ants will eat other insects. They also will feed off of food such as meat, sweets, honeydew, syrup, jelly, and sugar. One thing many people do not realize is that carpenter ants do not eat wood, instead they chew the wood into sawdust which helps them create tunnels and galleries.
Carpenter ants will nest in various types of wood and are specifically attracted to moist or rotting wood. They can also be found in tree stumps and inside around bathroom tiles, tubs, sinks, showers and dishwashers. In a house they may be found in roofing, attic beams and under subfloor insulation. Hollow places such as doors, curtain rods and wall voids also can host carpenter ants. Wood that has been attacked by carpenter ants tends to be smooth which gives off a look that it had been sandpapered.
Pavement ants typically are black or reddish brown. The worker ants of this type are smaller than carpenter ants, typically about 1/8 of an inch long. These ants will eat similar foods such as meat, pet food, sweets, breads, nuts, and other insects. Pavement ants like to nest in the soil under driveways, stones, sidewalks and other concealed sites. We find these ants commonly under the homes that have concrete slabs and the ants enter the home through cracks in the concrete.
Many people will easily confuse field ants with carpenter ants, but these ants are not as likely to venture inside. They are typically black, brown, red, or a combination of colors. The workers range in size to 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch long. Also, what sets these ants apart from carpenter ants is that field ants will build mounds in soil. Some species of this ants are known for making very large mounds and they do not form nests inside of buildings.
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